On December 2nd (Saturday) and 3rd (Sunday), the 2017 International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition was held at Waseda University, and the team led by ICU senior student Chizuru Yamazaki won first prize. The competition was sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Japan (ICRC-Tokyo), and conducted in English.
This competition has been held every year since 2010. Each participating team presents arguments for both the prosecution and defense on a conflict-related situation. Aside from ICU, Aichi Prefectural University, Kyoto University, University of Tokyo, Doshisha University, Hitotsubashi University, Yokohama City University and Waseda University participated in this year’s competition. Ms. Yamazaki and students from the University of Tokyo formed a joint team.
Assistant Professor Hiromichi Matsuda has been coaching Ms. Yamazaki since spring 2016. Professor Matsuda received a JICUF grant of ¥681,000 last year to help cover the cost of his students’ participation in moot court competitions within and outside of Japan. With this grant, the ICU team participated in the Space Law Moot Court Competition in March, the Japan Cup in early July, and the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition later that month. In addition, Professor Matsuda invited Esq. Sunkyung Choi, Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice in Canada, to ICU in late October through JICUF’s Visiting Scholar Program. Esq. Choi coached the students on mooting. These activities all led to the team’s success in the December competition.
Comment from Chizuru Yamazaki
“Living a privileged life in Japan, I sometimes almost forget about the people whose lives are affected by conflict. I learned so much from participating in the International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition sponsored by ICRC Tokyo. First, I was able to study law that has real-world significance. Second, I studied many cases and learned that a great number of people have been victimized by war crimes, and rediscovered how ICRC, UNHCR, International Criminal Court (ICC) and other organizations have taken different approaches to bring relief to these people.
While preparing for this competition, I was honored to speak with and learn from ICU alumnus (1967) and current member of the International Law Commission, Professor Shinya Murase; Legal Counsel from the Canadian Department of Justice Esq. Sunkyung Choi; and Professor Zhu Wenqi of the Renmin University of China Law School.
As a student at ICU, a university built on the idea of peace, the three months that I spent preparing for the competition were invaluable in learning about peace. There were tough times too, but I thoroughly enjoyed the competition. I would like to thank everyone involved in making this experience possible.”
Congratulations Chizuru, her team and Professor Matsuda!
This article is based on the ICU news article published on Dec. 6, 2017 with additions by JICUF.